How Key Council Races Shook Out

Margaret Chin and supporters (Photo by Carl Glassman via Tribeca Trib)

Election Day in New York City brought few surprises as the mayor, comptroller and public advocate all handily won re-election. In a number of City Council seat races, even sitting members who had faced challenges did well.

Margaret Chin, whose challenger Christopher Marte, running on the Independence Party line, had had a surprisingly good showing in the Democratic primary, nonetheless managed to triumph with 49.8 percent of the vote. Both candidates held election night parties at Chinatown restaurants, reports Carl Glassman in Tribeca Trib, and Chin was gracious when asked whether it would be possible to see past the differences of the campaign.

“If people are interested in protecting our community and moving forward to help the community,” she replied, “then I think we can always find ways of working together.”

Also offering a strong challenge to an incumbent was Brian Cunningham in the 40th district in Brooklyn. Haitian-born Mathieu Eugene nonetheless secured an easy victory with more than 60 percent of the vote, according to Kings County Politics.

With a third term under his belt, Eugene will have served as council member for almost fifteen years by 2021. He said that in the coming four years, he would focus on improving affordable housing, education, healthcare, and the lives and opportunities of immigrants and veterans in the district.

“I won’t be able to do all that by myself, and I cannot pretend to. But I will work with all my colleagues, from the city, state, and federal government, and also religious leaders, clergy leaders, community leaders, because the community is about all of us,” said Eugene. “Just imagine, if we decide to work together, putting our resources, our intelligence, our skill together, what New York will be.”

Another tough race in Brooklyn, for the council seat in the 44th district in the Boro Park area, was won by attorney Kalman Yeger, reports Kings County Politics, who had filled out the term of prior Council member David Greenfield, now head of the Metropolitan Council On Jewish Poverty. Only days before the election, advocates for Yeger and his opponent Yoni Hikind had traded accusations anonymously in a “proxy skirmish” on social media.

In Bay Ridge, Democrat Justin Brannan just squeaked by Republican John Quaglione for the 43rd District seat.

Mark Gjonaj will now represent the east Bronx, covering the neighborhoods of Morris Park, Throggs Neck, Silver Beach, and City Island. (Photo by Aaron Mayorga via Norwood News)

In the Bronx, voters elected the city’s first Albanian-American City Council member, as Assembly member Mark Gjonaj traded the statehouse for City Hall with 49 percent of turnout, reports Wendy Joan Biddlecombe in Norwood News. His win opens up the assembly seat, where he has represented the Norwood neighborhood.

“Black, white, Albanian, Irish, women and men, we are one collective voice and we are going to say ‘wake up City Hall,’” Gjonaj said. “The Bronx will not become a tale of two boroughs.”

Gjonaj said that after a short break of a day or two, he’s ready to start working on his campaign issues: improving transportation, quality of life issues, and addressing overcrowded classrooms and homeless shelters.

“I will always be a part of this assembly district, I don’t care about borders,” Gjonaj said of Norwood no longer falling within his council jurisdiction.

The closest race appeared to be in the 30th district in Queens, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside. There, third party candidate and Juniper Park Civic President Robert Holden held the slimmest of leads against incumbent Elizabeth Crowley. The race might not be decided for a few days, reports Anthony Giudice in QNS, as absentee ballots have not all been counted. Holden apparently received strong support from Republican voters.

And in Jamaica, Adrienne Adams made history, becoming the first woman to be elected to the council seat in a three-way general election, Naeisha Rose reports in Times Ledger. The position became vacant after former Council member Ruben Wills was found guilty of corruption and was sent to prison.

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